Neuro-Ophthalmic Emergencies

Neurol Clin. 2021 May;39(2):631-647. doi: 10.1016/j.ncl.2021.01.004. Epub 2021 Mar 31.


Neuro-ophthalmic emergencies include optic nerve, central visual pathway, and ocular motility disorders that, if not identified and treated promptly, may lead to permanent vision loss, other significant morbidity, or mortality. This article provides a framework for approaching patients with neuro-ophthalmic symptoms and reviews the presentation, evaluation, and treatment of select emergent conditions that can cause them. Emergent causes of blurry vision, transient vision loss, papilledema, and diplopia, including giant cell arteritis, cardioembolic disease, and aggressive infection, are discussed.

Keywords: Cavernous sinus syndrome; Central retinal artery occlusion; Emergency; Giant cell arteritis; Neuro-ophthalmology; Papilledema; Pituitary apoplexy; Rhino-orbital-cerebral mucositis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Emergencies
  • Humans
  • Vision Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Vision Disorders / etiology*
  • Vision Disorders / therapy*